Acclaimed artist and designer Maya Lin to speak at Union

Publication Date

Renowned artist and designer Maya Lin, whose work includes the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Civil Rights Memorial, will be the featured speaker at the second annual Feigenbaum Forum on Innovation and Creativity.

Lin’s talk is Thursday, Oct. 27 at 5 p.m. in the Nott Memorial. It is free and open to the public.

A committed environmentalist, Lin has consistently focused on environmental concerns, promoting sustainable building design in her architectural works, while making the environment the subject of her artworks.

Maya Lin

In 1981, Lin was a 21-year-old senior majoring in architecture at Yale University when she submitted the winning design in a national competition for a memorial honoring Vietnam veterans to be built in Washington, D.C. Her concept featured a wall for the names of the more than 58,000 servicemen and women who died in the war.

Named to the American Institute of Architects’ list of America’s Favorite Architecture, the wall is visited by more than 4 million people annually.

Over her distinguished career, Lin’s work has included large-scale site-specific installations, intimate studio artworks, architectural works and memorials, including the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Ala.

She is currently working on her final memorial, “What is Missing?” which focuses on bringing awareness to the crisis surrounding biodiversity and habitat loss. The monument will be a multi-sited work existing in select scientific institutions, online as a website and as a book. It debuted at the California Academy of Sciences in September 2009 with a sound and media sculpture installation located at the Academy's East Terrace.

Lin is also working on the Confluence Project, a multi-site installation spanning the Columbia River system in the Pacific Northwest that intertwines the history of Lewis and Clark with the history of the Native American tribes that inhabit those regions.

Lin serves on the boards of the Bloomberg Foundation, Museum of Chinese in America and the What is Missing? Foundation. She is an honorary board member of the Natural Resources Defense Council and is the recipient of the Presidential Design Award and a National Endowment for the Arts artist award. In 2009, she was presented with the National Medal of Arts by President Obama. She has received honorary doctorates from Yale and Harvard, among others.

To learn more about Lin, visit her website.

“Maya Lin’s remarkable body of work speaks to the critical issues of our time,” said President Stephen C. Ainlay. “She serves as an inspiration for the next generation of artists and designers.”

The forum is made possible through a gift from the Feigenbaum Foundation. The foundation was created by brothers Armand V. Feigenbaum ’42 and Donald S. Feigenbaum ‘46, longtime benefactors to Union. Acknowledged world leaders in systems engineering and total quality control, the brothers founded General Systems Co., a Pittsfield, Mass.-based international systems engineering firm that designs and helps implement operational systems for corporations and governments worldwide. Armand died November 2014; Donald, March 2013.

For more than a dozen years, the brothers hosted the Feigenbaum Forum, a gathering on campus at which academicians discussed characteristics of a new generation of leaders and how better to integrate liberal arts and other studies. The new series builds on this event by bringing in prominent speakers who have revolutionized their fields of endeavor through contributions deemed innovative and creative.

Howard Gardner, an internationally-renowned psychologist who developed the theory of multiple intelligences that revolutionized how educators teach their students, was the inaugural speaker for the forum last fall.